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A day in the life of a market research intern – Hall tests

By Theo, Sagitta Research

In this blog I will be writing about my experience as a trainee when working on a hall test and I will describe how a hall test works and its purpose.

A hall test (also known as a central location test) may sound like a straightforward way of collecting data; in fact, I found it to be quite a long and quite drawn-out process involving a great deal of preparation. The project manager has to brief the supervisor, who in turn has to explain everything carefully to the recruiters and interviewers. Their job is to then ensure the right people are recruited and that these respondents follow the questionnaire instructions carefully. Despite this, however, it is one of the most effective ways of researching the views of consumers. A typical hall test involves testing a product or concept on the general public. It usually takes place in a hired venue, which features a large hall and, if testing a food or beverage, a kitchen to prepare the product.

Various people are involved in a hall test. Apart from the respondent, there is:

1. The project manager, who liaises with the client and manages the project from head office. As a research executive, I also assist the project manager, helping with administrative duties such as printing questionnaires, booking venues etc. Often our project manager will attend the hall test to help ensure everything is managed according to the client’s requirements and to carry out a briefing where necessary.

2. The supervisor, who is primarily responsible for overseeing the project on the day (at the venue). At the hall test I recently attended, the supervisor was responsible for the initial briefing of interviewers, and also kept count of the number of interviews that were completed during the day and ensured quotas were filled. The supervisor also made sure that everything was conducted correctly and that the process ran smoothly.

3. The recruiters are vital to the success of a hall test, as they are solely responsible for approaching specific members of the public and inviting them in to take part in the hall test. A recruiter has to have the necessary skills to identify who may be eligible to take part, and must have a friendly disposition so that the respondent feels happy to participate.

4. The interviewers, whose role is to brief the respondents and guide them through a questionnaire.

5. The kitchen staff, who may have a more important role than some might assume. They must prepare the product quickly and efficiently, and according to the client’s specifications, for the respondent to consume while keeping a cool head. Hygiene is also very important of course.

6. A quality controller, who checks that the questionnaires have been completed accurately. This facilitates the job of the data processor / analyst and, of course, ensures correct data.